Editor's note: Mr. Saunders writes in response to the BayToday article Moose collision leaves one dead, two injured on Highway 11.
Recently in BayToday, there was a story about an accident where a car hit a moose on Highway 11 near Temagami and killed one of its occupants.
The story mentioned that the highway was closed in both directions for over six hours. That struck me as an extremely long time to have the only north/south route completely shut down.
Then, only a few days later, there was another story about a wreck on Highway 11, this time near Marten River, and once again the highway was closed for over four hours.
These two events really got me to question: isn't four and six hours an exceptionally long time to cut off traffic completely?
Obviously the first concern of first responders is, and must be, the well-being of those involved in the accident. It just seems that closing the road for this length of time could potentially create issues for occupants of the vehicles that were heading north and south on that highway. Fuel supply and low temperatures come to mind.
I'm not being critical, I'm just wondering what conditions make it necessary to close the highway for such a lengthy period. I certainly understand that first responders in remote areas definitely face challenges in getting to the scene and dealing with the crisis at hand. And I'm also sure that the OPP officers have a significant area that they have to patrol, and manpower would be an issue.
Hopefully, these issues don't occur too frequently.
Notwithstanding, it would seem prudent for first responders to consider reviewing the processes in place for dealing with these emergencies when they occur on roads that don't offer any alternative viable routes. Surely a way could be found to reduce the extreme number of hours that the highway needs to be closed to traffic.
Maybe there's nothing that can be done, but it should at least be looked at.
Ian T Saunders